A Think Tank for the Spandex Set

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On Friday at 8:20 a.m. on the dot, Kirsty Godso and Lauren Williams started to teach their new class, Pyro Girls, at Project by Equinox, a boutique fitness studio at 267 Mulberry Street in SoHo.

“Everyone in this room is now a pyro girl,” exclaimed Ms. Godso through a microphone. “That means you don’t just accept anything, you are going after more, you are fiery. We are going to get lit up.”

The class, a mix of strength work and high-interval training, was carefully created by the trainers, who are close friends. Participants, dressed in bright-colored leggings, cut-up T-shirts and the latest name-brand footwear, grunted through intervals of burpees with names like hot sauce, Bloody Mary, and jalapeño.

By the end of the 50-minute workout participants were drenched in sweat and keeled over. But rather than run straight to the locker rooms, they stayed behind to chat with the instructors. Some requested selfies. Others needed clarifications on moves. A large group headed to the adjacent lounge where they helped themselves to free cold brew, laced with nitrogen for an extra kick, and analyzed the workout.

“Everyone is very passionate about working out here,” said Sara Angle, a 27-year-old fitness editor for Shape magazine who was at the class. “No other studios have this space to build this kind of community.”

Equinox, the luxury health club chain, opened the new space, Project by Equinox, in March to experiment with new kinds of exercise, equipment and teaching methods. Instructors get to invent new classes and practice them with willing participants before rolling some of them out to the wider world.

“It’s a think tank, or incubator, or lab, or start-up, or whatever you want to call it,” said Vanessa Martin, the studio director.

This space is a welcome addition for instructors and customers who like to experiment, said Ms. Martin. Many New York fitness studios, in order to scale their offerings, ask teachers to follow set scripts and workouts, stifling their creativity, she said. Other clubs turn to gimmicks that have no real physical benefit. “New Yorkers have 45 minutes a day to exercise, and they want results.”

To that end, traditional Equinox clubs aren’t the ideal places to experiment, since members expect a constant, high-level experience.

“This is our Google Garage, our 20-percent time,” Chloe Heckman, the vice president of business development at Equinox, said.

There are eight to 10 instructors at any given time working in the studio. They must first audition, and prove that they have an entrepreneurial spirit and the potential to build a brand. Once accepted, they get whatever equipment they want — one requested a pull-up bar big enough for a group; another, resistance bands with a specific type of clutch. Instructors can play around with a lighting system that has 110,000 different settings, or a video camera that provides short clips of their workouts for social media.

Every afternoon, the space is reserved for instructors to collaborate and experiment. “Once I was asked to hang from a pull-up bar with a resistance band on my ankle” for a “huge core engagement” exercise, said Ms. Martin.

Some fitness experts are dubious, however. Jason Kelly, the author of “Sweat Equity: Inside the New Economy of Mind and Body,” agreed that there is a desire for innovation. “The appetite for the next fitness thing is robust, especially with the 20- or 30-something set,” he said.

Still, he worries about the ramifications of following trends. “Doing the next cool thing sometimes feels like making sure you’ve eaten at the greatest restaurant or gone for a drink at the cool new rooftop bar. If fitness turns into this strange one-upmanship of, ‘If you aren’t doing this cool new thing, you aren’t doing it right,’ that can be a bit of a turnoff,” he said. “At heart, I still love the idea of just going out for a run.”

A perk for some trainers at Project by Equinox is that they are finally given the resources and time to develop their dream class — something they don’t see as trendy at all. Patrick McGrath, a Pilates expert, teaches a sculpt and strength class that focuses on core work. “When we sat down for a meeting, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said. “This is what I do in my own life.”

Ms. Godso and Ms. Williams used to have brunch and talk about the class they wanted to teach together. “This was the first time we had a space to do it,” said Ms. Godso.

At $35 a class, the experience is not cheap, but it is open to the public, not just Equinox members. Dennis O’Reilly, a 28-year-old sales executive at a tech company, seems fine with the price tag, and likes the vibe of the studio, which welcomes men, he said. “This studio offers core workouts and a Nordic vibe,” he said. “It won’t go out of fashion.”